Saint Thomas, once known as Saint Thomas in the East, is a suburban parish situated at the south eastern end of Jamaica, within the county of Surrey. It is the birthplace of the Right Honourable Paul Bogle, one of Jamaica’s seven National Heroes. Morant Bay, its chief town and capital, is the site of the Morant Bay Rebellion, of which Bogle and George William Gordon were leaders.
Saint Thomas was densely populated by the Taínos/Arawaks when Christopher Columbus first came to the island in 1494. The Spaniards established cattle ranches at Morant Bay and Yallahs. In 1655, when the English captured Jamaica, residents from other British colonies were invited to settle here. About 1600 colonists, mainly from Nevis —including the Governor of Nevis, his wife, children — settled there. In a short time, however, two-thirds of them died of fevers.